A highlight of the 2010 Tony ceremony was Eddie Redmayne’s gracious and appealingly modest acceptance speech. The charming 28-year-old Brit won the Best Featured Actor Tony for playing the demanding role of artist Mark Rothko’s assistant in Red opposite Alfred Molina, and when he spoke with Broadway.com a couple of days later, he was still feeling “like an excitable child,” he said with a laugh. What’s next for Redmayne? The in-demand actor insists that his only plan after Red closes on June 27 is to “go sit in the sunshine for a week or two.”
Were you surprised when your name was called at the Tonys?
Oh god, yeah! It was a complete shock. That morning, we’d been sent a photo by our stage manager in London of the mock-up set from our first day of rehearsal in this tiny room in south London, and it reminded [fellow nominee] Fred [Molina] and me what a massive journey it had been. To compare that to the scale of the [Tony] show on Sunday night? It was like two different worlds.
Who was with you at the ceremony?
My mom came over from England to be with me. It was her birthday on the night of the Tonys, and I had been so busy I failed to get a present. I put her up in a nice hotel, and my two flatmates from London were staying there as well, so at the end of Tony night, we were in a stunning room at the Bowery Hotel, overlooking all of New York through several bottles of wine. It was great.
People are still talking about you starring in Spielberg’s upcoming movie of War Horse. It really isn’t true?
It isn’t true. It’s incredibly flattering, but completely untrue.
It might come true now!
No, no, no. No chance of that happening. No.
Do you know what you are going to do next?
I don’t. I have not had a day off for a year. Don’t get me wrong—as an actor, that’s the most wonderful thing in the world. But at the same time, I’m going to have to recharge my batteries. I’m definitely going to go home and sit in the sunshine for a week or two.
We keep hearing you’re going to be in the next X-Men movie.
No, that’s not true. There’s nothing more depressing than getting e-mails from your close friends and ex-girlfriends and various people in London going, “Congratulations on this!” And you go, “I wish it was true!” It’s not.
In a month, we’ll hear you’re in both of those movies.
I promise you, I’m not someone who lies in these scenarios [laughs]. You have my phone number now, and you have every right to call me [if I’m not telling the truth].
How freaky was it that you’ve been in two movies about Queen Elizabeth I, and both actresses who played the queen [Cate Blanchett and Helen Mirren] were at the Tonys?
My collective Elizabeths! I didn’t know that Cate and Helen were going to be there presenting; it was extraordinary and incredibly weird. And Scarlett [Johansson], who was my Other Boleyn Girl. It was a great night for Tudor England [laughs].
Wow, you and Scarlett had worked together, and you both won Tonys.
When she won that first prize [of the evening], I couldn’t have been more elated. Given her extraordinary fame and talent on screen, one would presume that her Broadway debut would be a walk in the park. But she and I have shared so much excitement on this journey, because for both of us, doing a play on Broadway was the stuff that dreams are made of. She came and saw Red and we went out for dinner, and even then we had to pinch ourselves.
You have an excellent American accent, both in Red and in the movie The Yellow Handkerchief [opposite Twilight star Kristen Stewart]. How did you master it?
I’m not sure. On film sets, you have wonderful people whose job it is to listen to every nuance and between takes say, “Change this, change that.” On stage, it’s not quite as easy. I thought my accent had been okay in London, and then I came here and some of the reviews were like, “God, his accent’s awful.” But some people have said to me, “I didn’t know you’re English!”
Don’t you feel like it’s time to move to L.A. and concentrate on movies—strike while the iron is hot?
I don’t. For me, it’s just about trying to put one foot in front of the other and make each choice slowly. My friends are in London; my family is in London. I kind of love this nomadic life, but I’m not going to be up and moving to West Hollywood and buying myself a pad just yet.
Let’s end with a very serious question: Who was the best film mother, Angelina Jolie [in The Good Shepherd] or Julianne Moore [in Savage Grace]?
Oh man, there we go! As far as the films are concerned, there’s no question Julianne’s character is the worst mother who ever existed. Barbara Baekeland was an absolute tyrant. Julie came and saw the play the other day, and Matt Damon, who played my dad in The Good Shepherd, came with his lady wife the other night, so it’s been lovely to reconnect with them. Hmm, the best mother? Well, the reason I got cast in Savage Grace is because I have freckles and reddish tinge of hair, which was ideal for Julianne, and the reason I got cast in The Good Shepherd is because I have massive lips. So I have a lot to thank both Angie and Julie for!